the shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye...

Rocky Mountain High.
we didn't have to 'pray for snow' on this trip...
a little limited in our visibility, but great fresh powder dude.
We flew in to Denver, & managed three whole days of skiing on the mountain. Breck's base {that's what the cool kids call it} is 168 inches, and I'm pretty sure we were there for a large portion of that collection.
Needless to say, it was an absolute blast. Ski trip is pretty much synonymous with super-awesome-fun-time. Aaron and I even started talking about how much fun it would be to live in Colorado. so, when the time comes to flee from the sooner state, if the jobs aren't right back home in Tennessee, we'll consider the mountain state for sure.
We all returned with sore bodies, boot bang, red faces, and big smiles. For people who haven't been before, I can imagine wondering about the physical beating, the 2 degree windchill .... and that's supposed to be fun?
It so is.
we enjoyed the lovely beating with these yahoos.
we stayed at a cozy mountain cabin near the Gondola mid-station.
meaning: ski in and ski out.
meaning: ok, well haul your gear, or pole 200 yards...but still, pretty swell.
We have some pretty awesome ski bums in this bunch.
{Aaron took some video, but I'm not sure how to get it uploaded on here...?}

This year was Coi's first outing on the mountain,
she was working her awesome boarding skills in no time.
to the Chaloners, we didn't forget the anvil chorus + riiiicola + have you seen the 30 pointer?
but, Michael, we left ticklish reuben all for you.
We usually go 'spring-skiing', so I have to say I was pretty concerned about going the third week in January. I was prepared to be miserably cold. I wear 4 layers on top, 4 layers on bottom.
yes, i'm a huge puff ball. think Ralphie's brother... "I can't put my arms down!"
These lift rides are usually the most brutal - freezing temperature wise. Well, my friends, I have to say... I think living in Oklahoma has toughened me up. The icy weather was nothing without 40 mph frigid winds. Quite pleasant, and kept the complaining to a minimum. Only my fellow okies could understand. "...you can talk to God and listen to the casual reply."
a sweet soma-reward just out the back steps. Our Uncle Lynn and Aunt Liz live in Colorado Springs, so they came up to join us for a day of skiing, great hearty meals, and some hard core evening activities. We learned new card games and played board games until it was time to dance on the table. no, really.
On our last evening, we sadly poled back to the cabin - after Aaron managed to be the last skiier on peak 7 {even after the ski patrol}. Behind a fortress, Trae and Coi had been planning for our return armed with 30 perfectly crafted snowballs. After the attack, we set out to find some great sledding hills--er roads.
fun's not over yet...
a successful snow tunnel.
Unexpectedly, we timed our trip with Breckenridge's annual international snow sculpture championships. They start with a twenty-ton block of packed snow and end up creating these amazing masterpieces!
in addition to the great runs, the little city itself is an adorable mountain town with lots of shops and restaurants lining the snowy streets.
{skip the scented Swiss House, or at least have the foresight to duck out like we did.}
The last day it was supposed to be a total white-out with wind chill of some negative integer. Well, miraculously, the clouds opened up and it looked like this.
You know, you really can look a lot better at this sport when the sun comes out & you can see where you are going! We mostly stuck to blues, but hit some blacks this day too. Aaron skiied great, and he thinks I am a ski-orexic {where I don't think I ski as well as I do}, so I guess I'm not half bad myself. Either way, it's an awesome hobby to share with my husband.

As it turns out, we ended up being snowed out of Oklahoma City when it was time to come home. Our flight was cancelled because of the ice storm in okc {and fortunately so was our whole campus!} so, Aaron and I bunked up in a hotel in Denver, relaxed, hung out and caught Gran Torino with our extra time before heading back the next day.
Thanks to all of our fellow snow bunnies for a great little trip. {more snapshots here}
A good time was had by all.


snow news is good news.

Countdown to Colorado...
T minus 2 Days.
Everything from planning weddings to thesis deadlines has kept us away from the slopes for the last couple annual ski trips, usually with the Chaloner family to wolf creek, colorado - a tradition in their family going back some 20 years. {you can imagine how awesome Aaron looks on a pair of skiis after all that practice.} It's a shame, because there's not a whole lot that we get more excited about than going skiing. So this year, we're back on the wagon! And, it's my turn to take Aaron along with some of my family to Breckenridge, Colorado.

{Us circa 2004 on our first ski vacation together. }

I have a coat that fits now.

Who knew we'd be where we are today?...and talking about bringing our little ski-schoolers out on the bunny slope someday...?
Well okay, we probably did. And both of our families. hey, we weren't that big of a mystery.

Looking forward to all the snow, Claimjumper {that's Breckenridge, right?} & the beautiful scenery of the Rocky Mountains!


bold, swift action.

It may not have been my mark on the ballot,
but an exciting day in American History nonetheless.
We’ll now support our new leader, do our part, and pray for country.

A change? Yes, we’ll see.
God Bless America, & Happy Inauguration Day!


plain and simple.

I've found a new print that I'd love to put up in our home.
I found one on a canvas scroll with this message:
During the early spring of 1939 and the war with Germany almost inevitable, the British government's Ministry of Information commissioned a number of propaganda posters to be displayed throughout the country upon the outbreak of war. The plan for the posters was to relay a message from King George VI to his people that all capable measures to defend the country were being taken.

Using the crown of King George VI as the only graphic element it simply read "Keep Calm and Carry On." Although some of the posters did make it on to walls {below}, the poster was never officially issued and so remained almost unseen by the general public. That is until a copy turned up over 50 years later within a pile of dusty old books bought from an auction.

They don't have record of who originially came up with the slogan; however, the reproduction is a tribute to that unknown person who created it. People across the world are still finding reassurance in its wonderful and handsome design with the very special attitude of mind that it managed to convey.


baby boy chaloner.

Alright, so you've all been well acquainted with our adorable niece, Emma. So now we should tell you that there's a new face you'll be seeing on here very soon, our nephew-to-come!

Proud parents-to-be, Cody & Sarah, were happy to have us brag on their new son and plaster his mug for all to see.
The 4-D ultrasound is truly an amazing technology, this little prenatal peek really takes your breath away to be able to look into the face of an unborn child. The little bun has less than 3 months left in the oven! We can't wait to meet you - see ya soon, kiddo.


where do you want to go for dinner?

When you live in Chicago, Dallas, D.C....the food critics are always posting up the latest and the greatest. and frankly, they have the luxury of having quite the lot to choose from. In L.A., I remember being quite surprised at the quality of the meals we had in each and every restaurant we went to. I mean, in a city like Los Angeles, a 'kitchy' theme alone wouldn't suffice. With that much competition in the city, to stick it out your food had to be stinkin' awesome.
And it was. everywhere we went.

Oklahoma City has it's marvels...but, just not as easily accessible. (Googled) Being somewhat new to the city, an initial internet search lists lot of the 'obvious' culinary front runners {and not all great food has to have 5 dollar signs, monsieur.} In all fairness, they do list Braums on there...?!

So, we're not on a budget that allows for too frequent dinners out mind you. But, when we do, we've started to explore more of the local flavor of our fine City rather than your chain establishments {don't get the wrong impression...I love a stop in for some Chili's skillet queso or a Bellini with some Spicy Romano Chicken at Johnny Carino's...} But, nonetheless, i'm starting a collection of our favorites...here's my {less than} novice recommendations on good-eats around this here city in hopes of finding more and trading interesting alternatives. who takes restaurant advice from a picky eater like me anyway? Picky-eater for sure, picky restauranteur not so much. I'll try anything once. {well, I didn't eat that squirrel Jim killed, did I? I should think through these promises.}

Sala Thai.
{unbelievable, best Thai food in the city, and cheap. near 23rd + Classen.}
Saturn Grill.
{funky, fun, lots of good sandwiches. Nichols Hills Plaza.}
{organic-y. health food nutty. love anyone that isn't stingy with the avocados. trip back in time with the old fashioned soda shop & homemade ice cream. Downtown near the roundabout.}
Buddha Tao.
{pan asian fusion. whatever that really means. very zen, world-famous sushi chefs--even a sushi happy hour, and it turns into a hip nightclub after hours. not that me & gramps have ever stayed that late. Memorial Road.}
Cafe 7.
{7 sandwiches. 7 pastas. 7 salads. 7 pizzas. all prepared in 7 minutes or less for under 7 dollars. simple, and well done. I've been searching for a good chicken salad within a 7 mile radius. near Memorial on May.}
{best Indian food, not just in the city, but probably ever. That's right, Clay Pit, I said it. yeah, you should probably go here first. 122nd + Penn.}
Cafe 501.
{yummy lunch spot in Edmond, and irresistable freshly prepared desserts. try the cupcakes! Melissa & I used to treat ourselves over lunch when we worked up there. off Boulevard.}
The Wedge.
{a funky little pizza bistro we checked out last weekend with Melody. will definitely be returning to dine al fresco when the weather's warmer. on North Western.}
Spicy Pickle.
{Carly and I happened upon this place back in October. You know how crazy I am about 'yummy lunch places'? Artisan breads, flavored mayos...Grab one to share, portions are huge! I think this puppy's a chain. in the Spring Creek shopping area in Edmond.}
Sushi Neko.
{order lobster shooters. omg. & of course sit on the floor and act super cool. :) Western Ave.}
Cafe do Brasil.
{ok, i'll admit, it's that much more fun because it's South American food. branch out a little, try the Brazilian national dish Feijoada. Downtown near 10th + roundabout.}

There are plenty more menus, but I think these are the ones at the top that we'd deem really good. I'd love to trade your favorites. In an effort of comprehensiveness, some more obvious choices to add to a general list could be Mickey Mantle's, Cattleman's, Hideaway, Ted's Cafe Escondido, Red Piano Bar {for drinks & appetizers}, nothing in Bricktown {oh except maybe Earl's}, Cafe Nova, ...

Hmm, I should make a 'stear clear of....' list next.

On deck to taste, we have the newly reopened Iguana Grill and Thai Stop... and I've always wanted to try this divey place. I've heard good things. ...Don't like it?... go someplace else.
Dear Zagat executives, I'd be happy to conduct further field research on your dime.


25 favs of christmas.

Christmas time was here…Happiness and cheer.

Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year…

To say that we’ve been busy…would be a ridiculous understatement.
I do hope you had a wonderful holiday, a relaxing break, and a great start to the new year!

I think it’ll be nearly February if I try to play catch up with posts and pictures from all of the shenanigans of the last month. So, naturally, I’ll play you the highlight reel… In honor of Mr. Aaron ‘yuletide’ Chaloner’s favorite tradition, I’ll sum up our 25 “Favs” of Christmas. I need ABC Family’s catchy jingle playing in the background. Corny, I know. But this is my blog, and I get to do things like that.

{in no particular order…}
25. Chaloner Family Christmas. This year it was Aaron’s turn to show me a Chaloner Christmas! We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the whole family. We all drove up to go to Christmas Eve service at LifeChurch where Cody was working, I’d never done anything like that. & Santa Claus dropped off quite a few surprises at the house the next morning. We shared presents, had a wonderful Christmas dinner, just ‘played’ all day, and stayed in our PJ’s until nearly 6 pm!

24. Klein Family Christmas.
A new little baby in tow, McKinlee, for this year’s get together of food, fellowship, an always exciting Dirty Santa, and Grandpa’s reading of the nativity.

23. Christmas caroling.
When your whole family is a choir in itself, it lends to an evening of caroling for friends and neighbors. I think we should do this every year, except I want to dress up like Dickens characters. {I’d probably be alone in my bonnet with that one…}

22. Christmas with Dad.
Somehow Santa still had a sleigh full post-Christmas day and found us in Tennessee too. He got word that we have a new stocking this year---Emma. We had a busy day of playing, more playing, more games, and lots of bowls of chili to go around. I think we had five Christmases this year, down for the count from usual I’m pretty sure. We had a wonderful visit with both the Chaloner side and the Dedmon side. I loved stretching it out so long. I’m the person who would probably wait until 11:59 pm on Christmas Day to open gifts just to make the excitement last that much longer.

21. Christmas with Mom. I know I know, we’re ridiculous. Christmas just keeps going and going! We were able to spend nearly a week with Mom, hanging out, catching up, shopping, introducing her to Wii Sports & our new Wii Fit (Hilarious by the way)... and of course some sweet Santa Claus + stockings. I know I missed being there this year for the big extended family gatherings on Christmas Day, but we still managed to get together with lots of ‘em during our stay.

It’s hard enough once you get married and have to divide your time between eachothers families, but we kind of compounded everything all at once back home. I imagined it being more gradual, instead of a disappearing act. So, it’s not exactly ideal, but in another sense, eventually we all fly from the nest. Things will inevitably change for a nuclear family, we won’t all be running down the stairs in our footed PJs to see what santa brought forever. Not that it doesn’t make me sad, but in the long run that traditions evolve and I suppose we just have to adapt…(& eventually start our new ones with our little footed PJ wearers) & experience Christmas as simply cherishing the ones we love.

20. Decorating.
Our cozy, festive home. We're starting to get a few more things each year, I just can't get enough. We scored big with all the holiday stuff at 80% off at the Pottery Barn + Williams Sonoma outlets in Memphis, snatching up more fun decorations for next year! & We've started collecting more ornaments, and specifically a new, special one to commemorate something that happened each year. It'll be so sweet to look back at all the milestones in years to come.

19. Shopping.

a cheers and a jeers, I'm sure. Great sales post Christmas. But, Aaron would say the hustle-and-bustle is his favorite. He was actually bummed that we had all of our shopping done early and didn't "need" to go to the crazy, crowded mall with all the last-minute mayhem.

18. Gifts & (gift wrapping!) Totally not the 'reason for the season' i know i know, but on a list of 25, I think I can squeeze it in, right? & I love making the list and picking things out for friends and family. I never want to have to wait to give it to them though, and I always love everyone to be surprised if at all possible. So, I don't want to sound like a total brat and list off everything we got for christmas either, we have immensely generous family & friends and we are oh-so-grateful. and that's that. [Ok maybe just one hint...? I will tell you that we watched the BCS Championship game last night in some awesome HD....]

And an aside, as much love went into wrapping your presents as shopping for them. I 'collect' wrapping paper. A beautiful patterned roll is like the next best thing to my elaborate stationery collection. you guys know I love anything 'paper' just a little too much. ...and the ribbons. oh, and the tags... you know, I'd love to have one of those rooms in my house one day with one of those wrapping stations, you've seen those, no? my wrapping isn't out of some desire to have a storybook christmas, it's because I whole-heartedly enjoy the process. Gift bags are under my tree, ehm, but only if some awkward, misshapen gift makes it absolutely necessary.

17. Hillbilly Holidays. ‘If you kill it, you have to eat it…’ Jim’s desire for an afternoon of hunting with his uncles [Uncle Greg was in from Wyoming, too!] turned into a lesson in gun safety and ultimately dinner for all of us. Ok, I only ate pheasant. I couldn’t do squirrel, much to Jill’s disapproval – “Jae, you won’t know until you try.”

16. Hiking @ MouseTail Landing.

15. Emma’s First Christmas. A little one brings such a new spirit to the Christmas holiday. Just to imagine what they must think of all of the people around, the paper flying everywhere, the twinkling of the lights, all the sights and sounds…She was much more interested in the ribbons and sparkly tags this year. She, of course, wasn’t lacking for any packages…she’s already mastered her little pink walker. She's already begun taking steps on her own, she'll be toddling in no time! they grow up so fast. Trae’s starting up a daily video blog for Emma, so hopefully you’ll be able to see her in action soon.

14. Skeet Shooting.
Logan and Aaron were pumped to get out and play with this Christmas present [a 12 gauge and a clay pigeon launcher thingy]. They were both pretty good shots, Logan hitting some 20 in a row. Playstation does have its benefits. They were run off from shooting at the sandpits. It takes a brave person to walk up to someone with a gun and tell them they ‘can’t shoot here…’ is that so? {Mom and I, not pictured, off shopping & getting manicures.}

13. Baking.
and thanks to my five new aprons, cookbooks, dutch oven, pastry decorating kit, cupcake carrier, kitchen gadgets and small appliances…I will most likely be doing a whole lot more. Message received guys. ;) {taking Jill’s advice…}

12. Extended holiday time.

I’d always assumed once I turned in that ‘student ID’, I’d also have to surrender any long breaks as well. Well, working for the state of Oklahoma certainly has it’s perks – We had nearly 2 weeks paid holiday time. Next year, I’m trying to talk my family into taking a cruise over the holidays. We did that back in ’99, and it was such a blast. I say skip all the stress & expense of the big presents, let’s stuff a few stockings and celebrate Christmas!

11. Shocking presents. A hit this holiday was these laser tag guns that would give you a nice little ‘jolt’ when your partner shot your target. A nice little anxiety attack for the beholder if you ask me. Aaron and Cody had a wild west shoot out. Pretty stinkin’ hilarious. Then, from my mom he got remote control shock tanks. Good grief, won’t someone else come play with him?

10. the feeling of rescuing your remote-controlled airplane from 60 feet up in a tree. {per Aaron.}

9. Christmas movies.
{this is the part where I am the stenographer and Aaron gets a big smile on his face and starts rattling off...} 'Twas the night before christmas. Charlie Brown Christmas. Mickey's Christmas Carol. Rudolph the rednosed reindeer cartoon. A christmas story. Frosty. Christmas vacation. Elf. Love Actually. Ernest saves Christmas. . . and about 30 {not exaggerating. yes, I know that's at least one a day.} others that have come on cable TV over that last 4 weeks. " ....even a miracle needs a hand."

8. Learning how to play Nertz AND Peanuckle.

7. Happy New Year.
This year we celebrated with family at a fancy 4-course dinner at Sambuca. A pretty swell joint on any night. Last time, my Mom & I were there they had a live band, but just that perfect amount of funky ambiance without it being too dark or too loud. The menu was delicious-o… Aaron, not wanting anything to ever to go waste, cleaned up his Lobster Gnocchi (pronounced 'nyo kee', thanks Aunt Jewel!) as well as the rest of our plates. NY resolution = to remember the pain of overindulgence. We all rang in 2009 over at the Belcourt Theatre with a Nashville local rock-a-billy artist, BonePony. We even got in our black eyed peas and hog jaw the next day! Prosperity tastes like bacon.

6. Having a study-free/work-free husband.

5. Our play date with Jim & Jill…
These kids are such sweethearts. They needed some playmates for all of their new stuff from Santa Claus!

4. Oh, the Christmas songs. So, fyi, I was sick for most of the pre-Christmas season {hence the lack of active Christmassy ‘extras’ on the list…like ice skating, and all that fun stuff we did last year.} …so, that means I had no voice. And thus for the most part deprived of a favorite holiday pastime. O Holy Night and Hark the Herald Angels sing are my tops, what are yours? Remember when you were a kid around Christmastime and you’d go for a drive with the whole family and you’d carol to your little heart’s content…? I miss that.
But Aaron’s family still does …just last season, we took our car-full through the miles of Lights displayed in Yukon…singing songs, laughing all the way… ho ho ho. {Can’t wait to have our ‘choir’-full. Our kids are going to be so embarrassed by their parents.}

3. Christmas lights. {And the game ‘Christmas lights!’…as simple as it sounds.}
You can’t miss the Nichols Hills area this time of year. Aaron and I are pretty sure most of the homeowners have hired help for their holiday handiwork. We caught an awesome display {near that house displayed in the post below…} at a home that had their lights timed to Christmas carols. You tuned to a specific radio station and watched as the whole display danced and flickered along with the music. They’ve got spirit, yes they do.

2. Papa Bowman.
So, of course it’s not a ‘favorite’ at all that he’s been sick this Christmas. But, my great-grandfather is one of my favorite people in this world. They believe he had a heart attack on Dec 30th, and he spent several days in the hospital. He’s been pretty weak, and right now he’s not strong enough for any type of intervention for the damage that was done. He saw his 94th Christmas this year, with all the ones I can remember being held right there at his house downstairs with a whole gathering of family. At his age, he’s still so sharp, so strong, and continues to work the fields at their farm. If you may, Keep him and my great-grandmother in your prayers that they would find strength, comfort, healing and most of all peace in Him.

1. Christ.
Did you think about Him this Christmas? Stop and really think? Take it all in, a good look around. I’m overwhelmed at it all.
As sunday school as it sounds, it really is the ultimate gift. An awe-inspiring, amazing, selfless gift. For all of our blessings, for all whom we cherish – much is expected. I’m ashamed to have ever taken it for granted and left any gratitude unsaid, unpraised. This is truly more than we could ever deserve.
…Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year.